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The Honorable Herbert Kohl
Committee on the Judiciary
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator Kohl:

We are writing to endorse enthusiastically S.993, the Biological Weapons AntiTerrorism Act of 1989 that you introduced in May 1989. We commend your willingness to take the lead over an issue that has been neglected for 15 years.

Passage of such a bill is necessary to conform domestic law with the international obligations we undertook by ratifying the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention which banned the development, production, possession and transfer of all biological and toxin weapons. As you are aware, the United States generally follows up treaty ratification with required domestic legislation.

August 1, 1989

The Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act would make it a federal crime for any private citizen or corporation, including any governmental personnel, to develop, produce, or possess any biological agent or toxin for use as a weapon of mass destruction. Though the Biological Weapons Convention itself bars the U.S. government from developing biological weapons, it provides no domestic penalties against private individuals, or even terrorists, for work on biological weapons.

In light of increasing concern in the U.S. and around the world about biological and chemical weapons proliferation, it is urgent that the U.S. move quickly to complete this long overdue action.

Yours sincerely,

Jim Wetekam, Policy Advocate
Office for Church in Society
United Church of Christ

We congratulate you for holding a hearing on the bill and obtaining the endorsement of the Bush Administration, with some minor suggestions on wording. We urge you to work for early adoption of the bill by the Judiciary Committee and the Senate.

David Cohen, President
Professionals' Coalition for Nuclear
Arms Control

Shira Flax, Washington Representative
Sierra Club

John Isaacs, Legislative Director
Council for a Livable World

Robert W. Tiller, Director
Office of Governmental Relations
American Baptist Churches, USA

Nancy Sylvester, National Coordinator
NETWORK, A Catholic Social Justice

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Dear Senator Kohl:

Thank you for inviting me to comment on Senate Bill 993. I am sorry that I was out of the country until just a few days ago but I will take this opportunity to make a few observations now.

I believe it would be very desirable to enact legislation that would implement the BW convention. I support that very strongly. There are nevertheless complications and difficulties in translating treaty obligations, which apply among sovereign states, to governing the acts of individuals. There are also severe definitional problems that I know will get your very careful attention. The term "weapons of mass destruction" appears in the preamble to the BW Convention but not in its text: as it has not been well defined I do not think it belongs in the legislation.

I have a radical suggestion to cover what we are looking for with respect to sanctions on individual behavior: Make it a federal crime for an individual to release or threaten to release an infectious biological agent with the intention of assault: of doing harm to any individual or individuals, to assist others to do the same, or to conspire to perpetrate such acts. Besides its relationship to the BWC, such crimes are a matter of federal interest because they go beyond other forms of personal assault and homicide by endangering the community at large. While this may seem to be at a different vector than your bill - 5.993. I believe that it would actually encompass all of the

Senator Herb Kohl August 10, 1989 -2

realistic cases that could be envisaged, including individual homicide, terrorism, and military acts in violation of the BWC. Terrorist acts could after all be directed at individuals or small numbers of individuals, not necessarily acts of "mass destruction". There are many other loose ends in the Convention but I urge you not to try to address them in legislation: they are already troublesome in international discussion, like the definition of "toxins". These are better coordinated with chemical weapons and their control.

As to the seizure and destruction of dangerous material, that ought to be embraced under existing law as (a) material evidence (b) environmental safety and (c) interstate transport and export of dangerous material.

Yours sincerely,



Joshua Lederberg


. II

S. 993

To implement the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and Their Destruction, by prohibiting certain conduct relating to biological weapons, and for other purposes.


MAY 16 (legislative day, JANUARY 3), 1989

Mr. KOHL (for himself, Mr. PRYOR, Mr. HATFIELD, Mr. GLENN, and Mr. LEAHY) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


To implement the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and Their Destruction, by prohibiting certain conduct relating to biological weapons, and for other purposes.

1 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representa2 tives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,



This Act may be cited as the "Biological Weapons 5 Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989".

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